How to Save Your Brain

Losing your mind is the most destructive disorder that a human being can encounter. Most people who become senile and develop Alzheimer’s or other unchangeable form of brain degeneration are aware of it. The worst of it is: we do most of the damage to ourselves.The amount of information processed by your ten billion brain cells each second makes our most advanced computers look like children’s toys.Your brain controls everything, from the smallest wiggle of your toes to the momently balance of hundreds of hormones and the microscopically regulated metabolism of all the thirty trillion cells that enables you to think, feel and behave like a human being.

When only a few thousand brain cells get damaged or die,it effects our whole body. Because of poor nutrition, pollution in our body, over-use of drugs and lack of exercise, progressive brain damage builds up. Our intelligence declines, memories fade, muscles astrophy, bones weaken, immunity is lost and we become aged and an easy prey for every disease.

Undoubtedly,the final solution to disease lies in the prevention of brain degeneration.The good news is that recent nutrition science have discovered ways to maintain and even improve brain function.

In the average person, the first brain function to go is memory, starting at age 30 and accelerating after the age of 40.As long as you can store new information in long-term memory and recall it, you can change your behavior, improve your skills and enhance your life.

If that capacity declines, you become an automate, not able to learn anything new, forever re-enacting the habits and memories of an increasingly distant past.

In order to prevent this decline, it is good to know something about the structure of the neurons, which are the nerves in our brain. Each neuron consists of a stringy filement called a dendrite, then a cell body, then another stringly filement called an axon.

The dendrite carries nerve impulses towards the cell body and the axon carries them away again. The nerve impulses carry information, much like the electrical impulses that carry your spoken information along a telephone line.

However, unlike phone lines, neurons are not connected to each other. The end of axon of each neuron stops near the ends of dendrites of other neurons. The gap between the axon and the dendrites is called a synapse. The transmission of nerve impulses across the synapse is accomplished chemically by the release of neurotransmitters, compounds that flow from the axon to the neighboring dendrites.

Two of these compounds known to be involved in memory are serotonin and acetylcholine. Both are formed from specific essential nutrients that your body can’t make. You must obtain them from your diet.

Learning is stored as memory mainly through modification of synapes. The particular pattern of synaptic discharges, called up by learning new information, sensitizes the neurons involved to trigger that pattern more easily on subsequent occasions. When the pattern recurs, memory of what was learned recurs also.

A new important discovery is that the amount of neurotransmitter present at the synapse, determines wether or not memory storage takes place. If the amount of neurotransmitter is reduced, memory storage is disrupted. We look at serotonin first.

The results of animal experiments at the Center for Neurobiology at the Columbia University show that memory storage can be increased by introducing additional serotonin into the neuron. The same is true for humans, additional serotonin improve memory storage.

You can improve your memory if you sleep immediately after studying. Sleeping cuts off all further input and thus prevents interfering material from blocking storage of the learning. Now we know that the neurotransmitters are more important. Serotonin is released in large quantities into the brain as you fall asleep. It is the additional serotonin that improves memory storage.

The drug zimelidine also increase brain serotonin and imroves memory. Serotonin is formed in brain neurons from the essential animo acid l-tryptophan. The rate of serotonin formation depends on the amount of l-tryptophan that is available to the brain from the blood.

To raise your blood tryptophan you can eat proteins that contain tryptophan or you can take a pure tryptophan supplement. People in European countries have free access to this essential amino acid.

Because of the blood/brain barrier however,only an l-tryptophan supplement will raise brain tryptophan without difficulty. Transport of amino acids accross the blood/brain barrier is limited. Trytophan is one of the class of large neutral amino acids (LNAAs), that rely on a specific transporter molecule.

If you eat protein food at the same time as l-tryptophan, the other LNAAs in the food, isoleucine,leucine, valine, tyrosine and phenylalanine all compete with tryptophan for transport, as a result, only a fraction get through.

You can solve this problem by “neutrolizing” the other LNAAs in the blood by eating high carbohydrate food with the protein, like whole-grain bread or rice cakes. Carbohydrates lowers blood levels of all the LNAAs, except tryptophan, thereby permitting it to enter the brain preferably and so raise serotonin levels.Your memory will undoubtedly benefit from it.

The production of brain acetylcholine reduces when we grow older. However, memory improvement is achieved with the drug arecholine, which stimulates acetylcholine function. Brain acetylcholide is made from choline and pantothenic acid in your diet.

Memory improvement by taking choline can only be achieved when taken with pantothenic acid as well. Especially older people are lacking the essential nutrients, like folic acid, vitamin B12 and thiamin in their diet. Any strategy to maintain or improve memory must be based on complete nutrition. It is useless to supply your brain with acetylchloline if the neurons, whose function it is supposed to improve, are already dead. People with early memory loss still retain functional neurons on which the choline can act. It is best to start early with choline supplements before degeneration starts.

Another factor to be taken into consideration is that when choline is taken it will only increase acetylcholine synthesis in the brain if the brain is stimulated, for example by studying. Also exercising the brain seems to be necessary to maintain your memory level.

Memory improvement doesn’t happen overnight.. In most cases any improvement can only be experienced after several months, as it requires new growth of dendrites and axons and even growth of whole new neurons.

Science today has shown that it is possible to grow new brain cells. Dr Fernando Nottebohm has made this remarkable discovery from animal studies, when after given brain stimulating drugs and intense mental stimulation, grow new brain cells and connections in adulthood. Nottebohm believes it is also true for humans.

This new evidence proves that anyone can improve their brain, but it doesn’t happen overnight. It can take up to ten months and six years for acetylcholine increasement.

In an attempt to increase brain acetylcholine with lecithin intake, you must take into account that lecithin bought in health food stores contains only small amounts of lecithin. Only phosphatidyl choline supplements of about 20 mg will work.

The latest discovery shows that acetyl-l-carnitine maintains brain function partly by antioxidant action.It improves memory, prevents brain cell loss, boosts intelligence and restores acetylcoline metabolism.

It is used in numerous doses of 1000-2000 mg per day throughout Europe for treatment of Alzheimer’s, depression and memory loss in the aged and for improvement by younger people.